This year, try coloring Easter eggs naturally with ingredients you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. It’s a fun activity to do with the family, and even more fun when you make the dyes yourself! Here are a handful of tips to help you on your way…
Eggs, egg carton, pot(s) or saucepan(s), water, white vinegar, slotted spoon and natural materials (see below).
Optional: string, cheese cloth squares, vegetable oil
BASIC EGG COLORING HOW-TO’S:
- Gently wash eggs with soapy water and dry.
- To make each dye, add your desired material to 1 quart of water and 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar in a pot or saucepan. Add a single layer of eggs to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15–20 minutes and remove pot from burner.
- If you like the color as is, dab off excess dye with a paper towel and set the eggs on a rack to dry. To deepen the color, leave eggs in the pot until cool. To get even richer shades, put cool eggs in a bowl, strain the dye water and pour it over the eggs. Store submerged eggs in the fridge overnight.
Many common foods and spices make great dyes. Here are a few examples, along with the resulting colors, but you can always experiment with other items you have lying around. If it’s brightly colored and stains your cutting board or fingers, chances are good it will also color eggshells quite nicely!
|Yellow to dark orange||Yellow onion skins||6 onions, skins only|
|Bright yellow||Turmeric or cumin||2 Tbsp. powdered spice|
|Orange||Chili powder||2 Tbsp. powdered spice|
|Faint red-orange||Paprika||2 Tbsp. powdered spice|
|Pink to red||Red beets||1 bunch, washed and sliced|
|Pale purple to red||Red onion skins||6 onions, skins only|
|Lavender||Grape juice||1 frozen container of concentrate|
|Blue||Red cabbage||1 cabbage, grated or sliced|
|Green||Spinach||1 fresh bunch, chopped|
|Yellow-green||Green or yellow apple peels||4 cups, peels only|
|Tan to brown||Coffee||2 cups strong coffee|
Wrap string around eggs before dyeing to create stripes
Wrap onion skins, rice, or other leaves or flowers around eggs, then wrap the entire egg with a cheese cloth square and secure it with string before placing the eggs in dye
Gently wipe dry dyed eggs with vegetable oil to give eggs an added sheen
The flavor of the eggs may change based on the dye, so if you plan to eat your dyed eggs, a shorter bath and fresh ingredients may be preferable. Store eggs in the refrigerator and eat within a week.
Eggs will be speckled if the dye matter remains in the liquid. For more uniform colors, remove the dye matter from the liquid, by straining through a coffee filter, before refrigerating.
You can use brown or white eggs, though the colors will turn out a bit differently depending on which you use. To make the colors absorb better, wipe the eggs gently with vinegar before you start dyeing.